Warm weather, sunny skies, birds chirping and flowers in bloom; spring has finally sprung! However March 20, 2016, marks the beginning of more than just the spring season; it’s the celebration of the Spring, March, Equinox.
The March Equinox is also known as the Vernal or Spring Equinox and is the first of the year. Though the Vernal Equinox is known for the start of spring, this is only for the Northern Hemisphere portion of the world. In the Southern Hemisphere this time of the year is known as the Autumnal, or Fall, Equinox. With spring finally coming into season, now come the many, many celebrations of this wonderful time around the world; here are five traditions celebrated during the March Equinox.
For Christian and Jewish cultures the start of spring surrounds a very significant week; the Passover, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Jewish Passover and Christian Easter are two of the most celebrated holidays around the world. With festivals being held around the world, one of the largest in Italy, Easter eggs are synonymous with this holiday as a symbol of fertility and rebirth.
Along the same theme of eggs and fertility, China is another country that uses eggs as a symbol during this time. There’s an ancient Chinese tradition of balancing eggs on its’ end as a practice for good luck and prosperity. In fact, there’s a myth attached to this ritual that the March Equinox is the only day of the year where this is even a possibility.
For many cultures the first day of spring is a time of renewal. A lot of countries in the Middle East and Asia, such as Iran, Kosovo, Turkey, etc., celebrate Nowruz, also known as Persian New Year. During the first day of spring, immediate family members gather around the table to await the exact moment of the arrival of spring! Once this occurs gifts are exchanged in celebration. This is a day filled with families and friends visiting one another’s homes and spending time together while sharing good food.
In England more than 100 people that are New Age practitioners associated with the druids, pagans and Wiccans take a sunrise tour of the world-renowned Stonehenge. The trek to the Stonehenge begins before dawn and people come dressed in all kinds of traditional pagan clothing.
Spring isn’t the only occasion celebrated on the vernal equinox. For several countries in the Middle East, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria, the vernal equinox is a celebration of another provider of new beginnings; our mothers! That’s right, even though Mother’s Day isn’t an official Muslim holiday, Egypt was the first country to begin celebrating it on the vernal equinox in 1956.
So while you’re enjoying the changing seasons, don’t forget to find your own traditions to celebrate the coming of spring!